After one last look at Hvar on our way out...
...we took the 11:15am ferry from Hvar back to Split, where we spent a few hours walking around inside the old city walls known as Diocletian's Palace. More of a giant fortress than a palace, this place was built around the year 300AD and was intended to be used as the residence of the Roman Emperor Diocletian and his military. Today, you will find all the typical hallmarks of any modern city: shops, restaurants, hotels, and private residences. While huge for a palace, it's small for a city and takes only about 30 minutes to walk around. It's quite pretty and reminded us of a smaller, slightly less refined Dubrovnik.
After seeing the palace itself, our sole objective that afternoon was to spend the remaining few Croatian Kuna we had on food. We settled for virgin mojitos and one order of french fries at a cafe within the walls, and saved just enough to buy sun hats and our bus fare to the airport that evening for our flight to Rome (merely a connecting airport to our next flight).
Your mind does funny things when you have hours to while away in a tiny airport like Split's. We spent an unhealthy amount of time debating whether we should buy dinner before or after security and ended up making the wrong call. After going through security and having half our toiletries thrown out (things like toothpaste and lotion that had made it through no less than four other security checkpoints at other airports - thanks, Croatia) we pooled our last few pennies on a disgusting airport sandwich. At least we could fondly remember our dinner at Dalmatino's the night before, which just so happened to be written up in the airline's in-flight magazine! Sarah's dish is specifically mentioned, too!
Tonight's accommodations needed no reservations because they consisted of four chairs pushed together in a hidden corner of Rome's Fiumicino Airport. Our flight from Split landed at 10:30pm and our next flight out left at 5:40am, and we didn't feel like wasting a night's hotel fare. Save where you can so you can spend where you want? The border patrol agent didn't want to let us into the terminal at 11pm because you aren't technically allowed in there until the day of your flight. As soon as he realized we weren't bluffing when we suggested standing in front of him and staring at him for an hour (there was literally no one else around), he let us through. It's the small victories. We slept exactly as well as you might expect.